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Dance With the Skeletons in Your Closet
With all the material addressing mental wellness, one thing is clearly emphasized and that is “learn to free your mind.” It is logically the best way to deal with mental health issues. After all, in the first place, your mental health is poor because your mind is not "free". You may have tried meditation and mindfulness, but you feel like there is no significant change. Let’s first understand what exactly you are trying to free your mind from before we go on. As a writer, you have a lot of things on your mind, just like any other human being. You may be having thoughts about your failed projects (both for your career and social life), about your health, about your family issues, about anything that seems to be slipping out of your control. These thoughts affect you in a way that they keep recurring in your mind continuously, keeping your mind occupied with them. These thoughts are usually overwhelming, giving you a sense of helplessness. Dwelling on these thoughts is called rumination. Rumination causes the production of cortisol (a primary stress hormone) which activates the stress response system. This often leads to headaches, deprivation of sleep, anxiety, stress, depression, and cardiac problems among other problems.
Dancing with the skeletons in your closet
It is not always easy to “free your mind,” especially when whatever is occupying your mind is something very personal. Healing cannot be rushed, forced, or manipulated in any way. It has to happen naturally. You cannot keep forcing your mind into meditation or mindfulness if these have clearly not worked for you. That is why I advise that you dance with the skeletons in your closet. How? It’s very simple, embrace your thoughts. Instead of spending energy avoiding your thoughts, spend more energy on making yourself aware of your thoughts. These are some tips that will help you embrace your thoughts:
Write down your thoughts
One of the reasons why these “overwhelming” thoughts keep occurring is because you have not addressed them. Imagine that you are given a mathematics problem verbally and you are asked to solve it. If it is simple, you will definitely be done with it in a short while. If it is a complex problem, you will want to write it down, then solve it. Now that’s just the same way our brains process information about our personal problems. It easily solves a simple problem but will keep dwelling on a complex problem. Try writing your thoughts down and you will realize they can be solved. While writing your thoughts, rather write what exactly is on your mind and not what you think is okay for you to write.
Engage yourself in exercises that make you calm
This is meant to make it easier for you to get to your thoughts and write them down, in case you are having a hard time making anything out of your thoughts. Such exercises are different for everyone, but they always work. You can take a walk, jog, do yoga, participate in martial arts, or find a quiet and safe spot to sit in. All these will help make your thoughts clear and therefore easy to write.
After writing your thoughts, create logical and achievable solutions. Planning to execute over-ambitious or unachievable solutions will only cause you more stress and more damage to your mental health.
Written by Readers’ Favorite Reviewer Keith Mbuya